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Obama’s Act II Begins

[UPDATE: The speech has come and gone, but our coverage continues. See the links at left for updated analysis of the SOTU.]

Tonight, President Obama will give the country its first solid look at his plans for dealing with continued economic uncertainty and a newly resurgent GOP in Congress. Business had better be watching closely.

The State of the Union speech will be Obama’s best opportunity to explain what “Act II” of his administration will look like in the wake of the 2010 midterm elections. In many respects, the Republican House victory nailed the coffin shut on Obama the crusading reformer. Now, as our writers lay out in our SOTU preview, it’s time to meet Obama the centrist conciliator, who appears eager to mend fences with business even as his administration works to consolidate its hallmark reforms in healthcare and finance.

There are already signs, for instance, that Obama is extending an olive branch to Wall Street — a villain in last year’s SOTU — and scaling back his once-ambitious energy policies. But the administration appears likely to draw a line in the sand on healthcare reform, which the Republican House has already voted to repeal, and may not cede much ground to the business community on other issues such as regulation, taxes and entitlements.

You’ll find that and lots more in the pieces linked to the left. And come back regularly, as we'll be updating this page with analysis of the speech itself, lessons you can draw from Obama’s speaking style, and what his predicament can teach you about managing through adversity.

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